An INFP’s Character Development

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In every book and story—or at least every good one—a character develops and changes over time, and this is good because it’s realistic: in real life, everyone changes from day to day; who I am on Monday might not be the same person you greet on Tuesday, because I’ve learned things and grown a little, and that means my worldview and how I interact with myself, other people and society has changed. However, in books, the character development is usually more marked, because the point of the book is for the character to learn about something as she or he goes about his journey, and without this development, the story would seem a little strange and pointless, as if it shouldn’t have occurred at all.

This got me thinking about an INFP’s “character development” over time; in other words, how a person of the INFP personality might change over the course of their life, in accordance with their personal traits and characteristics. It would be different for every type: but since there are unique traits, like introversion and a mind prone to daydreaming, which all INFPs share, our character developments should, I think, sometimes follow the same trajectory.

First, let’s go all the way back to our infanthood. I think INFPs would be quite intelligent babies, because we end up growing up into rather intelligent people, and be prone to sleeping less than other babies and being more engaged and explorative of the world around them. Once childhood hits, and walking and talking enter the picture, in the home sphere, we’re likely to be quite chatty and active, because we’re comfortable with our family members, while outside the home, we’d be prone to stranger-aversion and quite touchy about being with people we don’t know.

Childcare would be another kettle of fish. That’s where our introversion would truly come out to shine, because we’d definitely be the kid that sits quietly playing with puzzles by ourselves or dress-ups with that one other friend, completely absorbed in our tasks, in an almost autistic fashion, because we’re good at concentration, creative, bright and love having the ability to let our imaginations run wild. Socialisation with other kids who aren’t quiet and strange like us will be non-existent, if there at all. We just don’t get along with other people at this point, and are closest to our own fantasy worlds and the odd friend, imaginary or not.

Primary school, or middle school, if you live in America, would be another playing field. Here, we finally begin to learn the ropes of socialisation and our character undergoes a metamorphosis, where we don’t just isolate ourselves and learn to interact with people for the sake of following social norms and because being an outcast is a hard, lonely life to lead. However, we’re still at the stage where we’re not capable of making genuine, real human relationships, because everything we do or say is “copied” or “learnt” from others: we haven’t got the hang of socialisation and have decided the best way to make friends and get along with other people is to put on a mask, talk a lot, and pretend you’re happy. Thus begins the unhappy stage of an INFP’s character development, where we feel stifled in a society that doesn’t accept us for the daydreaming introverts we are, and while we read and borrow books at a frenetic pace, expressing our individuality through our imagination and creativity in private, in public, we still go along with the crowd and do what everyone else does, for fear of rocking the boat.

Then there’s high school. Oh boy. Here’s where problems really start t to begin: puberty plus a cocktail of social anxiety means the INFP is bound to run into trouble, and plenty of it, either in the form of bullying, depression or feeling like an outcast. Because they’re intelligent, they’ll often do well in school and be considered a “nerd”, and much of their time, when not pretending to be happy and fit in—a continuation of their primary school years—is spent reading by themselves in the library or bathroom cubicles, where they can escape from the world and other people. More likely than not, they’ll not see certain boys or girls as real people but princesses and princes on pedestals and fantasise about them from afar, while believing themselves to be ugly, socially awkward and wretched. At this point in an INFP’s character development, they’ve most likely reached their ultimate “low”, where they feel like the worst possible version of themselves, both inside and on the outside, and are painfully awkward and cringe every day at their own awkwardness, and feel like life is an endless, dark tunnel they can’t seem to get out of.

Then comes adulthood. Free from the constraints of high school gossip and bullying, with the Internet at their fingertips and several hundred books of knowledge at the back of their mind, INFPs begin to come into their own, slowly at first, but gradually faster, as they realise the world outside the education system isn’t a bad place for dreamers—in fact, it’s the dreamers, creators and creative types of the world who are often the most successful and happy. Of course, the INFP goes through ups and downs, but eventually, they find an inner confidence as the progress through adulthood they didn’t possess before, mainly due to understanding themselves and learning more about life and the world, and realise who they are, someone who delights in the strange and magical, who loves Christmas like children and fawns over sparkles and glitter, and would never hesitate to help someone who is suffering, is a beautiful person, through and through. It is to be expected that INFPs still carry a backlog of pain from their early years, but this soon fades, as they discover their passions and grow into themselves, ready to sally forth into the world full of imagination and creativity, and being the best possible version of themselves they can be, each and every day.

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An INFP’s Latest Discoveries & Reflection On Jealous People

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I’ve discovered quite a few things lately, all of them the kind that would very much appeal to INFPs, so I thought I’d share them with you.

One of them is a search engine called “Ecosia”, which turns your searches into trees! Literally! Every time you search for something using this search engine, you help to plant trees in places like Africa and the plains of Asia, with 45 searches equivalent to one tree planted. It’s very easy to download, it acts just like Google or Bing or any other search engine, the only difference being your searches end up helping the environment and rebuilding the world’s forests! It’s so amazing, I’ve been using it for a while now, and I’ve racked up, on my phone and on my desktop, about 1500 searches so far, and as the years go by, I’m sure I’ll “earn” more trees and help the environment by doing my bit! So can you! And so far, Ecosia has already planted 41, 132, 323 trees at the time of my writing this piece, so go ahead and add to that number, which is growing everyday, for a brighter and better future for Earth, our beloved planet.

Another discovery I’ve made is an orchestral musician named Michael Ghelfi. Here is a link to his work: you can find him easily enough on Youtube, and it’s a shame he doesn’t have more views and subscribers, because his music, much of which is “steampunk-themed” is absolutely gorgeous, stunning, amazing and fantastic. It’s whimsical and pretty, sweet and complex, and evokes emotions, scenes and worlds through its notes and tunes and accompaniments. If I ever wrote a Steampunk book, and it had the good fortune of being turned into an actual film, I would seek him out right away to ask him to write the score for the film. Just, check him out: you won’t regret it.

One more discovery: the song “Wanderer’s Lullaby” by the Youtube singer Adrisaurus, which is almost a kind of motivational song wrapped up in melancholy and sweetness, is about believing in yourself in spite of the world and other people. I think that’s something everyone, on some level, can relate to, because we’ve all had our dreams doubted by someone, we’ve all encountered jealous people, no matter how fortunate their lives might be compared to ours in the first place, and we’ve all, deep down, doubted ourselves and our ability to achieve our dreams. This song is absolutely perfect for all of us who are striving towards a castle in the sky, out of reach, only accessible if we somehow build a jeweled floating sleigh or capture a pegasus; and it gives you strength and hope to fight another day.

I’ve been burned many times. This is no understatement. I’ve been burned, again and again, by other people in my life, people who I believed wanted the best for me or liked me, when in reality, they harboured secret jealousies and hatreds. When I was younger, I was too confused and naive to fight back. As I’ve grown older, I’ve also become a little tougher, and it’s a little harder to cross my path these days, because I’m not afraid to speak my mind, speak back, and tell you if you’re not treating me right or are a toxic influence in my life. I’m not afraid to get out the knife, and cut the gangrenous limb right off, with or without anaethesia, with my teeth gritted and sweat on my brow. I only wish I had that kind of courage in my younger years, that I hadn’t been brainwashed into being a meek, cowardly creature by the people who raised me.

There are people in this world who do not want to see you succeed. In fact, their idea of their dreams coming true is to see you fall, stumble, fall flat on your face and never get back up again. They want to see you in the dirt, and to put a foot on your head, and laugh like a maniacal, evil villain in some story. Let’s get this straight: they would be happy if you died, or were even murdered, and your dreams died with you. Make no mistake as to how evil or bad some humans can be, because I have lifted the rocks of humanity and seen the bugs and creepy-crawlies that writhe on its underbelly. I have met them, talked with them, laughed with them, been in their company and their homes and eaten their food. They are like monsters in angels’ garbs. They have different faces, and come in all shapes and sizes: friends, family, loved ones, teachers, mentors; you name it, they can hate you and dislike your ambition and desire for success, because it highlights their own failure and lack of success. Darkness doesn’t just resent light: it loathes it, with all of its being. That’s because it knows light is something pure and wonderful that it can never be, and so it hates it with all its heart.

You need to shine in spite of the darkness. I know it’s hard. These people, these influences, can be brutal. They can even come in the form of someone you love romantically—you’d be surprised—which makes it doubly difficult to brush them off. In some people’s eyes, life is a competition, and they want to be the one on top. What they don’t realise is that the true queens and kings of this world don’t murder, scheme and kill to get to the throne, but are chosen by the people, and because they have something special inside of them which makes them shine a little brighter than most. Kindness. Love. Courage. Faith. Belief. Heart.

“Wanderer’s Lullaby” reminds you that who you are is worthy. You and I, we are worthy; and anyone who tells you you aren’t worthy can go (insert expletive starting with “f”) themselves, because they’re not worth bothering about. Light is useless if it doesn’t learn to increase its brightness around darkness, otherwise the darkness will swallow it whole and be very satisfied, like a cat that has eaten the canary. No, you must shine brighter and brighter, bright enough to blind them; and then, they’ll leave you alone, because if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that those who put you down are the most cowardly and disconnected from life and themselves, or otherwise they’d be chasing their own dreams, and living their own lives, instead of spending all their time hating you and your bright, sparkling eyes, and trying to bring you down to their level.

Are INFPs “Nice”?

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Yes. For the most part, if you’re someone who is lovely and kind yourself, as most people who INFPs hang out with tend to be, we’re the kindest, nicest and sweetest people you will ever meet. The kind that kisses butterflies and sings babies to sleep—the kind that makes evil people hate us, the way the cold-hearted Queen loathed the gentle and pure-hearted Snow White, and less compassionate people wonder if there are truly angels in this world. In terms of purity and kindness, INFPs are peerless and unmatched.

But.

Yes, there is a “but”, in all this, and before I dive into what I’m about to say, I want to remind you of something. INFPs, every single one of us, were born into this world with a heart as a pure as starlight. Unfortunately, as happens to most people in this world, we grew up and realised other people and society were less kind, more cruel and darker, and in order to cope in a scary, frightening world, sometimes, even rabbits have to learn to bite wolves. Does this mean the rabbit has turned into something hard-core and carnivorous? No. The rabbit does it out of necessity—deep down, all the rabbit wants to do is gambol in fields and nibble on grass and sniff things. But because wolves exist, threatening the rabbit’s way of life, it has no choice but to arm itself, or else be eaten and devoured and suffer for a very long time before it dies.

Something strange happens when you throw a pure creature into a world of monsters: suddenly, the pure creature discovers a wellspring of power within themselves that they’d never known before and becomes a fighting force in their own right. In other words, INFPs are nice, but up to a point. There is always a line you can cross, no matter how much it takes to get to that line—the line always exists. No-one is without a line in their lives, or else they’d have no spine or backbone at all, and INFPs are anything but spineless. The first time you do something horrible to us—and for some reason, INFPs, especially when they are young, appear to be easy targets, probably because we exude vulnerability the way the sun does light—we can, sometimes, find it in our hearts to forgive you, especially if there’s a good reason for it e.g. a traumatic past or childhood, an unhappy family situation. The second time, however, is a different matter—the third time it happens, regardless of whether it’s the same person or not, we become a little jaded, a little more sour.

I’m not sure what happens when you cross an angel, but I imagine the anger of something pure is far more frightening than the fury of something evil. That is because good is always stronger than evil—and goodness angered, is a force to behold. Cross the line with an INFP (and usually this involves severely overstepping our values, like murdering a kitten with sadistic pleasure right before our eyes, or taking advantage of us in some irreparable way, like sexual assault, or hurting one of our family members), and you might as well have angered a clever rabbit who is able to detonate a series of human traps to capture an entire wolf’s clan.

Depending on our maturity, we’re not afraid to make sure people get their comeuppance, and this is far from the “nice” image some people have of INFPs, that’s we’re these soft, gentle creatures who would never dream of retaliation. No. That kind of “niceness” is only practised by very inexperienced and immature INFPs who haven’t realised that sometimes in this world justice needs to be served regardless of the consequences, because evil does exist and needs to be punished, or else it will continue to perpetuate and hurt others. While I won’t go into the details of how I’ve dealt with situations where people have severely crossed the line with me, I’ve always made sure to seek the power of the law and other authority figures and do whatever is in my power to rectify the situation and make sure the perpetrator doesn’t get away scot-free, happy as a daisy after causing destruction and ruination.

This is a lesson INFPs learn only as they grow older, which is that “niceness” is only useful when interacting with other nice people. When you’re dealing with cruel, cunning and evil people, “niceness” needs to go out the window, and be replaced by firm, implacable strength and a zeal for justice to be served. This is how INFPs become proponents and champions for underdogs and mistreated people, for the bullied, the disenfranchised, and the misfits. As J.K Rowling once mentioned in one of her Harry Potter novels, it is often those who seek power the least who most suited to leadership, and I believe INFPs fit in this category, in that, although we shy from the spotlight and don’t want to lead anybody or anything, sometimes, it’s necessary for us to take up the mantle of responsibility and lead ourselves or other people to salvation.

I’m a rabbit, leading my army of rabbits against the big, bad wolves, and with our wits and our hearts and our love for each other (and perhaps some guns and machetes, you know, just for a little extra bite to our entourage), no wolves will stand a chance in our way.

When INFPs Feel Like They Don’t Fit In

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I’ve always wondered what it would be like to go to university, to go to lectures, like a normal person, on their way to good things in life, to have a group of laughing, fun friends, to go to sushi bars and eat lunch after lectures, study in the library, have drinking games and parties where you steal kisses in bedrooms and get drunk. Go to nightclubs and restaurants, go ice-skating and shopping, holidaying to fantastic places with a boyfriend and friends, have a wardrobe filled with trendy clothing and lots of high-heels, a collection of perfumes, go to work everyday at a well-paying position earned from years of hard work and studying. To be “normal”.

I’m certain this is a feeling experienced by many INFPs, this feeling that we are just too different, that we don’t fit in with everyone else, regardless of the group we’re with. Partly this is because our lives can be on the more unconventional side—in my case, I left school early and decided to pursue a career as a fiction writer while working part-time jobs and figuring out my life; but I know INFPs who went to university but couldn’t find a job in their field and became non-profit organisation workers, volunteering their time and working side jobs; or became painters and solo artists; or realised their true calling lay far from what the education system could provide—and partly because we are inherently a little unconventional. We’re creative, and we’re different—in the eyes of other people, that’s code-word for “weird”. Our thoughts are too creative, too out-there, otherworldly, we feel too much, think too much, the list goes on and on…

So we’re constantly on the outside, looking in. Even if we fake it, pretend we like what others like, sports and the latest fashion, and pretend we’re just as normal and conventional as they are, we can never keep the act up, it simply uses up far too much of our energy. So we smile, and pretend, to keep the peace, then retreat into our own inner worlds, where everything is fantastical and perfect.

I wish I had a solution for this problem, but I don’t. I think, in the end, we’re a little bit tragic, because of who we are, in that we’re destined to never feel as though someone (except for maybe another INFP) truly understands and knows us, because we’re so strange and complicated sometimes.

It would be best, I think, if we could create our own world, somewhere on a planet far from here. A world filled with libraries, and staircases running this way and that, and cats and cups of tea galore, where rain always patters gently against the windows and fireplaces flicker with light and we are free to be as weird and kooky as we want to be.

Our imaginations and creativity, however, are a gift. Everything has an opposite, a positive and a negative; if we didn’t feel different from other people, we wouldn’t possess any originality or creativity, and if we didn’t have our imaginations, we wouldn’t be INFPs at all. And as someone who regularly visits imaginary worlds as part of her calling, I feel as though it’s a fair trade-off. I’d rather be strange and isolated, than unoriginal and empty. Perhaps this is my 4w5 Enneagram surfacing, but I honestly feel this way, I really do. If you asked me to give up my creativity so I could be normal like everyone else, and live the “high-life”, I’d tell you to take your Faustian bargain elsewhere, thank you very much.

So, cheer up: it’s hard to feel like you never fit, and having to always pretend, but there’s a place for us, I know it is, and it exists within our minds, within our hearts and our imaginations. It exists in the world between worlds, where everything is full of magic and adventure, where we get to go on rip-roaring crusades on flying pirate ships and devour the moon. And that’s all that matters.

What Kind Of Love Stories Do INFPs Like?

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Well, considering how much of a romantic INFPs are, I wouldn’t blame you if you believed INFPs love the sappy, romantic stories, where the prince rescues a girl, or those love-hate stories where two people hate each other, the sexual tension building, until they finally fall in love, or even those stories, to be a little more unconventional, where the maiden manages to rescue the man, and they fall in love and live happily ever after, walking off into the sunset.

No. While those stories are all nice and good, you forget we are quite creative people, and turned off by the banal and unconventional. No, no and double nope: the stories that appeal to us, the love stories which get our hearts aflutter, and put a big, dreamy smile on ours faces, are the kind that are special, unique, and yes, sometimes a little strange. Oftentimes they have a twist to them, or are particularly pure and innocent. Without further ado, here is a list of the kind of love stories INFPs like.

  1. When the love story does not take the centre stage.

What? Yes, you heard me right. We actually like stories, oftentimes adventurous, fantasy ones, filled with magic and intrigue, where the love story isn’t actually the centrepiece of the novel or film. In other words, we like it when love isn’t a character almost in itself because of the importance it plays in the work of art, simply because it’s different and goes against the grain of the endless parade of books and films where the love between two characters is the reason the movie exists in the first place (take Titanic, or Twilight, for instance). Instead, there are films like Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki (I’ll be referencing him a lot in this post, simply because he is my favourite filmmaker, and, from my interactions with INFPs and endless trawling through INFP forums, one of the most beloved film-makers of INFPs), where the romance is completely overshadowed by the greater plot of a group of people trying to slay a forest god and destroy an entire ecosystem. This is because, for INFPs, romantic as we are, love actually doesn’t play a central role in our lives—more of a sweet, peripheral role, because we are full of dreams, hopes and desires completely unrelated to the search for a mate.

  1. When the love is innocent and pure.

Too often, love stories are about passion, lust and sex. The characters barely know one another, if they were put in a room together for 24 hours they would soon get sick of each other, but put them in a dangerous situation, or in a bedroom, and suddenly, clothes are flying off like feathers from a bird and they’re kissing and everything is happening. It’s a little bit too much for INFPs, if I’m going to be honest with you, a little too much and a little bit unrealistic. Instead, when the love is the enduring kind, where they don’t just fall in love over the course of a day, but grow to understand and learn about each other, seeing each other’s good sides and bad sides— that’s when we truly “fall in love” with the love story. INFPs, although daydreams, can be extraordinarily picky about accuracy and realism when it comes to the books and films we consume—I bet that’s something you didn’t know about us! While I can’t think off the top of my head of such a story—maybe the Sound of Music love story between Maria and Captain Von Trapp?—I do know that such love stories are definitely a favourite of mine and other INFPs.

  1. When the female protagonist is brave, good and strong.

There are so many weak female protagonists in fiction and films, it’s simply unbelievable—so many women who need to be rescued, who fall into the arms of a rich men and stay safe in the shelter of his wealth, so many “transformations” where the heroine turns from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan and the male lead suddenly falls in love with her, that it’s sickening. Do you know what men in real life are like? Most of them are not here to sweep us women off our feet, or buy us Chanel and Dior bags, or take the time to pay for expensive makeovers so that we can look more attractive—instead, they’ve got their own lives, their own problems, their own fears and worries and desires, just like you and me. They’re looking for a friend, someone to love and lean on, just as much as we are looking for those things. So it’s refreshing when a female protagonist in a love story is independent and strong. She doesn’t necessarily need to be a snarky, kick-ass protagonist—since when did strong equate with being extroverted?—but she must have a well of inner strength and power that makes her shine brighter than any glittery eyeshadow or sparkly blush ever could. Why do INFPs like such stories? Because we’re very strong people. Delicate on the outside, as hard as water on the inside (ever fall from a great height and smack onto a body of water? That’s as good as hitting a slab of concrete). We have to survive in a world that oftentimes doesn’t care about purity or morality, and somehow remain pure and moral in spite of that. We’re diamonds, darling, the un-cut kind, and we adore love stories where the female protagonists have an unbeatable gleam in their eye, and knows exactly how to sacrifice themselves to save the world.

  1. When the male love interest is a partner, an equal, not a shield or protector.

Us INFPs can protect ourselves. Because of our quiet and delicate natures, from an early age, we are often bullied, disparaged or taken advantage of. By the time we reach our adult years, we are in no way in the dark about the ugly sides of human nature or our own resilience and ability to withstand suffering. INFP women, if they’re mature, don’t need a man to shield them from the big, bad world. We know our own way through the woods. We don’t need (excuse me while I throw up) a shoulder to cry on and a good (and oftentimes muscular; if you read enough novels you’ll know what I mean) chest to lean on as we sob and cry, and for him to kiss away our tears and hold us close, like a fragile bird, and whisper, “I’ll always be here for you.” Bleurgh. Double bleurgh. We don’t need that. Maybe it comes from an unconscious distaste for the conventional, but us INFPs would feel so suffocated and unwell, to our very core, if that aforementioned scenario happened to us. Instead, we like love stories where the love interest doesn’t baby us, but instead is a good, solid friend almost, who gives us advice and believes in us and urges us to fight for our dreams. Not some male equivalent of a therapist and pillow in one.

  1. When the love story is funny.

Okay, so, yes, I don’t know many comedy-romance films or books, but surely there must be some out there, right? And yes, INFPs, we do need funny love stories in our lives because we’re so serious all the time. Seriously (ha, get what I did there?). INFPs are incredibly serious people: we take the environment seriously, we take our careers seriously, we take our passions seriously, we take our relationships seriously—heck, I even listen to music seriously, making sure I absorb the full sonic experience of every note properly, in the zone and in the moment, all the while imagining some film or book scene in my mind that fits the tune. Fact is, we need to lighten up sometimes, and there’s nothing that’s better for lifting one’s mood than a funny love story. You know, where the guy makes a fool of himself, or the girl goes through a wild and wacky series of events to find the love of her life. Many Korean and Chinese dramas are good at delivering these kinds of storylines. Point is, even though if you asked us, we’d say we didn’t like these love stories, we actually need these stories in our lives, which is why I put it on the list.

 

So there you go folks, a couple of types of love stories that INFPs love. Maybe next time you’re picking out a book or film for your INFP friend or significant other, you’ll keep some of these in mind as you make your choice. Of course, any love story, no matter how banal or bad, is better than no love story, or, worse, a horror movie, so feel free to give your INFP loved one whatever movie they like, as long as it’s fun, entertaining and imaginative. That’s all from me folks for today—see you in the next one!

What Makes Other Personality Intimidated By INFPs

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Let’s face it, we’re not exactly the intimidating type, at least by traditional measures, are we? We are gentle, daydreamy, airy-fairy creatures who love animals, books and nature, and would never hurt a fly. Nevertheless, there are certain aspects to an INFP’s personality, depending on how mature and well-developed as a person they are, that make us intimidating to other personality types who may not possess the traits, talents or abilities that we do. Oftentimes, these traits have nothing to do with physical size or beauty (although I’m sure there are lots of beautiful-looking and comely INFPs out there in this world) or wealth or social status, or anything superficial that does not last longer than the breath of a wind, things which others, traditionally, found intimidating when other people possessed them.

In fact, in alignment with our personalities, INFPs tend to be quite slender and small creatures, like delicate will-o-the-wisps, rather ordinary but ethereal looking (our eyes always have this distinct, faraway look to them, as if they are viewing other worlds beyond our own—and they often are), have low social status because we don’t care about flashy cars or mansions, and be often times quite poor, because we’re starving artists living in garrets or with our parents, trying to eke out a living from our craft while holding down low-paying part-time jobs. Nevertheless, the aura of INFPs is a unique and distinct one, and while in the presence of it, and all our other marvellous traits, people can find themselves rather intimidated and awed. So, without further ado, here are some things that make other personality types intimidated by INFPs.

1. Our creativity and imagination.

When it comes to imagination and creativity, our skill set in this department knows no bounds. We are naturally inventive people, capable of works of art, be it books or short stories or paintings or sketches or songs, and often times, displays of this talent can awe and intimidate others, because the have no idea how a person could have dreamt it up. This is a natural ability of INFPs, to create and be creative, and something we are very, very proud of.

2. Our kindness.

INFPs are the kind of people to stop whatever they are doing, even if it is rather important, and save an ant about to drown in a puddle of water by using a stick to help it out. Our respect for nature, for all living creatures and humans, and our compassion and desire to help them, is unparalleled. We are kind, down to our very core, and for those who are less kind, whose hearts are colder and darker, we present as bursts of sunshine that hurt their eyes, and which causes them to feel great resentment towards us, and yes, be intimidated by us. When evil is met with purity, it cannot help, on some level, but be cowed, knowing that it is witnessing and in the presence of something they could, not in a million years, ever achieve.

3. Our insight.

We are good at reading people, situations and social dynamics. It’s just a natural ability of ours, like creativity or the ability to imagine all sorts of interesting and eccentric things. This can completely floor people—”how do you know that?”, they ask, wondering how we were able to pinpoint something about them, such as a personality trait or foible, in just one glance. With one look, one conversation, we can easily determine the character of a person, sometimes their hopes and desires, even their deepest, darkest thoughts (which is not necessarily a good thing, depending on the person in question; such thoughts, if exceedingly dark, can harm an INFP’s psyche quite badly). I used to think everyone noticed the things I did, felt the same discomfort I did around certain people, but the truth is, other personality types, while smart, can be less observant and intuitive when it comes to judging a person’s personality and character, their dreams, hopes and desires. It’s why we make great counsellors, and good mediators, and why it is very, very hard to lie to an INFP (sorry, but we’ll just see right through it).

4. Our daydreamy natures.
Sometimes, INFPs don’t seem like they come from this world; they’re too wishy-washy and full of daydreams, as if, at any moment, they could lift up from the ground and float away like a dandelion seed. To other people, if an INFP shows their true self, we can seem like aliens, come from another planet (which is, quite frankly, how we oftentimes feel). But this part of us can intimidate some people, as our ethereal personalities and natures are foreign to them, and can make them wary, if not outright hostile, towards us. Anything unfamiliar is often met with hostility, and I have lost count of how many times a stranger took one look at the otherworldly, ethereal gleam in my eye and treated me with a certain cautiousness and distrust.
5. Our purity.

I kind of dedicated an entire post to this (see this week’s posts), on how, as an INFP, I am naturally quite a pure-hearted person, so there’s no need to go through that again; but I must add, in accordance with the subject matter of this post, that this is another reason why some find INFPs rather intimidating. We are governed by strong morals and a very powerful, accurate inner moral compass in our everyday actions, thoughts and dealings with people, and that can turn some people off, simply because we make them look bad and sordid in comparison. While others would not hesitate, for instance, to fight over designer handbags in a store during a huge sale, INFPs, being too pure to be materialistic, are more often than not going to be in a corner somewhere with her nose buried in a book, and this blatant show of purity and lack of materialism tends to rub people the wrong way. Losing friends over being too pure or good for them is no matter to us—we’re perfectly fine and happy with our own company and imaginations, which brings me to my next point…

6. We’re astonishingly independent.

Once our living expenses are met, with a cat and a home library thrown in, we can live quite happily ever after entirely absorbed in books and creative pursuits, with little need for human interaction, affection or even love. That’s because we’re oftentimes very in touch with our Creator, rarely feel lonely because we’re always connected to the universe and nature, and find great solace and company in imaginary characters inside films, books and TV shows. Sure, having people around you is nice, and INFPs, while introverted, can feel very warmly towards other people; but for us, nothing beats being alone, by ourselves, lost in a fantasy world. If this independence makes some people jealous, or frightens them off, then it’s their loss—we’re not going to be affected by it, at the very least, because we’ll be too busy enjoying the company of ourselves and other imaginary characters.

7. We’re happy.

Being in touch with the universe and nature, and having creative passions, means that we are oftentimes very, very happy people. Of course, like with all types, depression can hit, and when it does, it’s very bad—but even when we’re depressed, we’re secretly very happy too, because it’s all so dreary and dramatic and fun. Tragedies and comedies might play out across our lives, but either will be equally welcomed, because INFPs love life itself, and anything that is a part of it, be it good or bad, is an object of curiosity, to be analysed and understood and enjoyed. The trick to true happiness is to view everything with wonder and curiosity, and that is just what INFPs do, every single day, every single minute and every single second of our lives.

What Makes An INFP Feel Contempt?

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Contempt. It’s a powerful emotion, suggesting the person feeling it has a certain superiority over another. However, there are times when contempt, the feeling that someone is beneath you, is necessary and justified. When faced with certain people, and certain situations, an INFP, pure of heart and soul, can sometimes feel nothing but contempt.

Over the course of life, we meet many contemptible people. These people, often, are those who care only about themselves, who don’t, to put it crudely, “give a shit” about anything other than their own comfort, desires, whims, safety and well-being. These people are despicable. To an INFP, they are disgusting.

Perhaps some examples are in order.

Take someone who is a billionaire, and instead of spreading the wealth among the masses, building infrastructure and schools and hospitals to benefit humanity, or use it to help heal the environment by planting trees and suchlike, they hoard it all for themselves, for their own families and friends, to buy pleasures and toys and holidays. That, to any INFP, would be contemptible. In the eyes of God, I am sure they are sinning, on a very great scale. But this kind of contemptible behaviour is not limited to those who are billionaires—ordinary, everyday people, who are reasonably well-off and middle-class, are guilty of this, too, in that they only care about themselves and their own social circle, about accumulating more wealth and safety and security for themselves, in a snatching, miserly kind of way, that it blinds them to others’ suffering. They choose relationships based on benefit, and feel good when they “collect” things, like beautiful children with good grades or a good home, or nice bags and shoes. In my opinion, a lot of INFPs would find this behaviour contemptible.

Then there are those who fail to see the value of other people and every person who spends their time working for the benefit of others on this planet. Those who look down on cleaners, or age care workers, simply because they do low-status or “dirty” jobs, make INFPs feel disgusted, because we know, deep down, that these people are hard-working, unsung heroes, oftentimes worth a thousand of those polished, shiny CEOs who spend their days living off the hard work of others and granting themselves huge salaries, like a well-fed cat on a pile of canaries. Such people are blind: they fail to see that the true worth of someone isn’t their paycheck, or the supposed “status” of their job, but the person they are, the kindness and trueness of their heart.

Cowards are contemptible. It’s okay to be scared. It’s normal. But when it comes to crunch time, that’s often when people’s true characters reveal themselves: are you someone who will push someone else in the path of danger, so as to save your own skin? Would you lock the door to someone at risk of dying or being killed, if it means you get to be safer? When someone is at their lowest ebb, starving or dying of thirst, are you the kind of person to give to them with love and compassion, or to turn your nose up and walk away? When people really need you, are you there for them, or, because it might be a little risky, or your reputation is at stake, you turn away? If someone is in danger, would you do everything in your power to try and save them, out of the goodness of your heart, even at risk to yourself? Are you able to slaughter an innocent animal, deliver the death blow, and eat the meat without it leaving a bad taste in your mouth? All these situations showcase the true colours of your heart—and if you choose the cowardly path each time, the loveless path, the selfish one, where your own life and feelings and reputation and safety and health is of the only importance in this world, and you’re too afraid of getting cut to save someone from being killed, then you’re someone INFPs find contemptible.

For those who are weak, and easily pushed around, more mature INFPs will also find them contemptible for not having a backbone. “Tough” INFPs (see my previous posts here, here and here) are often a little disgusted when someone lets themselves be hurt, pushed around, bullied and antagonised by other people without putting up a fight or speaking up or striking in self-defence. The only way to fight evil, is to be stronger and smarter than it. Of course, in the end, God is the only one who can truly save us from evil—but everyday, we have the choice to face small or big acts of evil head-on, with our own spirit and power, rather than cower and swallow the pain, like poison in our mouths. The same goes for those who witness evil happen to other people, but don’t do anything about it: that’s just as contemptible as committing the evil yourself, because being a bystander makes you an accomplice, a kind of second perpetrator.

Those who contradict themselves, who are hypocrites, are also contemptible. They are leading false lives, showing facades, when, in reality, their true beliefs and actions do not mirror their words, and all they have, at the end of the day, are false promises. People who relish others’ suffering are not just contemptible—they are worthless, trash. They are not human. Their hearts are as dark as pitch.

Those who don’t respect nature are contemptible, if not stupid. To be disconnected from nature, to not love nature, the trees and the bees and the flowers, is to be disconnected from yourself, God and the universe; you see yourself as separate from everything, and everything as dollar signs, banknotes, resources to be plundered, instead of the marvellous blessings and gifts that they are.

Individuals who lack self-awareness can sometimes be contemptible in the eyes of INFPs, because INFPs can be incredibly self-aware, and we have a hard time understanding how someone could be so blind to the evil within them or around them. Sometimes, although we might not admit it, those who don’t realise they’re being taken advantage or that the people that they call their “friends” and “family” are truly horrible people are sometimes viewed as idiots in our eyes. Our intuition is incredibly highly-developed, and we simply cannot understand how someone could be so thick, so blind. This is a fault, and perhaps a sin, of INFPs, because people’s’ intuition and inner compasses are not always perfectly developed and as advanced as ours, just like our ability to physically fight or speak in public are not as well-formed as other personality types. This is something we need to work on—it’s easy for the sensitive to treat the less-sensitive with contempt, and is a failure of the INFP heart which needs to be rectified.

Just like with all feelings, we feel contempt very deeply, and those who are at the receiving end of our contempt are almost always those who deserve it, because what we find contemptible is what is, objectively, evil, callous and unkind. But we mustn’t forgot that karma is real, and that those who hurt others truly hurt themselves the most in the end, so there’s no need to feel bitter about all the evil that happens in the world; and justice, sooner or later, whether in this realm or the next, is always served. Try not to incur the contempt of an INFP, the childlike dreamers and angelic warriors of this world, because there is nothing more terrible and powerful than the anger of someone pure and good.

How To Win An INFP’s Heart

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Over the years, I have received a lot of messages from men asking about how to win over INFP women (although, strangely enough, not the other way around; is that part of the discrimination INFP men feel in this world? Sad.) and have decided, at last, to dedicate an entire post to this matter. A disclaimer: while I profess to be quite the quintessential INFP, I am still only one INFP, and what works for one INFP woman or man may not work for another, as all INFPs, despite our shared psychological functions, are unique, individual people, who have grown up against different backdrops and in various backgrounds. So, without further ado, here are some ways to win an INFP’s heart.

1. Not be evil.

This is kind of a given, because the INFP you have sitting in front of you or floating around in your life, I guarantee, has quite a pure and angelic heart, and if, morally, you are not on the same level, they are unlikely to feel warmly towards you, let alone be attracted to you. We do not like evil. We do not like unkindness, coldness, superiority complexes, hardness or cruelty, something which many people in the world have in spades. Therefore, if you want to win an INFP’s heart, the first step is to be a genuinely good person, in and out. The kind of guy or gal who loves dogs and cries at a little at the suffering of others, you know what I mean? Those kind of men and women are the types of people us INFPs adore. If you’re a little cruel, a little harsh around the edges, then you’re only option is to change and do a 180° transformation, because no evil is going to live in the men or women we date.

2. Be romantic.

Ha. I know what you’re thinking. Hey, I’m romantic. I’m very romantic, my dear lady. No, you’re not. I can guarantee you’re not romantic enough. You see, I think you just don’t get it. We INFP’s don’t just want everyday romance. We are romantics, idealists, we live and breathe romance, and consume enough romantic fiction for nearly no human being to be able to possibly match up to our expectations. You need to treat romance as an Olympic sport. You need to be creative, to be original (more on that later). Instead of treating her to a candlelit dinner and some roses, write her a beautiful song completely dedicated to her and sing and play it to her on your guitar (provided you have the talent, of course) or leave a trail of candy, like in the story Hansel and Gretel (INFPs love fairytales! She’ll adore this) all the way to a little gingerbread house you baked, and inside, hidden within the biscuit house, is a small note or poem dedicated to them. Or a little miniature witch and her cauldron—really, it doesn’t matter, as long as it is creative. You need to up your game, mate.

3. Be a creative and original person.

Are you a follower? Are you conventional? Do you have none of your own thoughts, and not a single original bone in your body? Then, sorry, we will not be interested in you. It might sound harsh, but it’s just facts. INFPs are creative people—we are often artists or writers—and if you don’t have that same creative streak in you, it’s very hard for us to love you, very hard indeed. We dislike those who swim with the current, and adore those who swim against it, idealising and deeply admiring those who challenge the status quo. If you’re not an original person, not creative, I would wonder why you are pursuing an INFP in the first place, and why you love her, because one of the things INFPs love to be loved and admired for is their creativity.

4. Be a deep thinker and be complex.

You can’t be an airhead. You have to be a complex, deep sort of person, the kind who can chat with her or him late at night about stars and the universe and personality and men and women and the meaning of life. You must be able to keep up with her or him. Our thoughts can be expansive as the universe. We are so incredibly connected with the Consciousness behind everything, and Mother Nature, and invested in being the best human being we can be, that if you’re not just as complicated and fascinating, you won’t have our interest for long. Ooh, you know what would be a real doozy, that would any INFP definitely interested in you? If you have a tragic past. And therefore have some personality flaws because of that. Us INFPs LOVE wounded, complex people, because it tugs on our heartstrings, and oftentimes, this is the spark that can lead to love. Be a deep, wounded, complex man or woman, and you’ve got it made. But be genuine. Fake something, lie about something, and you might as well break up with him or her forever.

5. Have an intense dislike for disingenuous people.

When people say it’s good to have similar interests to your partner, they’re probably not talking about this—that you should have a shared dislike for disingenuity. INFPs are perceptive creatures, and can sniff out when someone is being disingenuous from fifty miles away. We absolutely hate suck-ups, or people who take advantage of other people, or those who trample on the weak and innocent on their path to riches, fame or success, and if you loathe the same thing, we are, you know, kind of on the same side, and that can create a bond like nothing else. The same goes for you—if you want to attract an INFP, be a genuine person, not fake and simpering, and not only after stupid things like sex and money.

6. Be able to withstand a tempestuous personality.

On the outside, especially to strangers, us INFPs can seem quite shy, delicate and sweet. We’re not. We’re more like silent warriors, whose sword is the pen and whose hearts can shine brighter than the Fourth of July. Our emotions, in addition, are incredibly powerful, and we can be furious, joyous, depressed and wistful all in the same breath. We are complex people, and can flash like summer storms. Be ready to face this part of us, and to love and accept it, if you truly love us and want to chase after us, because if you can’t handle us, we’re perfectly fine on our own, without you.

7. Be wise and brave.

INFPs love wisdom. In many ways, you should have a certain fatherly or brotherly air about you, because this not only makes us feel safe, we also feel as if we can turn to you, like sunflowers towards the sun, for help. Be wise, be brave, be sure, be strong, be capable of holding up the sun and the stars for the right cause, and we will give you our love in return. There’s nothing we hate more than cowards, or people lacking in compassion. Our hearts are like tiny, multi-coloured universes, and we are brave and compassionate people, who have grown up on a diet of books filled with brave and compassionate characters fighting against evil, been taught by the likes of Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen to be the person we are today. Don’t disappoint us; sourpusses, people who resent others for their success or their creative talent or their happiness, cowardly people who don’t dare to stand up for what is right and true, do not interest us.

8. Be innocent.

Innocent people are kind. Us INFPs love innocent, simple (but not necessarily unwise) men and women, who are kind down to the very depths of their soul. You know this kind of person. They just don’t have a single mean bone in their body. Half the time, they don’t even realise evil is staring at them in the face until it’s before them, that’s how innocent they are. We love these kinds of men and women, and fall in love with them, because we feel the need to protect them and a kinship with them. Nothing makes us fall in love with someone more than kindness. Let me repeat that. Nothing makes an INFP fall in love with someone more than a kind heart. So be innocent, kind, brave, strong, pure and wise, different, and you’ve got a chance at stealing away our heart.

Interview With The MBTI Types

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I’m listening to Taylor Swift’s “Girl At Home” as I try to formulate a proper blog post. For some reason, none of my writing seems to be measuring up lately; it’s as if all of my work has been going through a deadly drought, and all of the words inside of my have withered and died.

I feel as though I should have developed something by now, a “voice” in my writing, or had a book or two published, or learned something grand and marvellous about life and the universe, whereas the reality of the situation is I feel empty and full of absolutely nothing. I go to the library before work, inwardly lament over the fact that I have to go to a job I do not like, then spend the rest of the day trying to reconcile myself to the horribleness of my job and the long commute back home, then get home and collapse onto my bed and fall asleep. I barely get any energy and time for writing except during the long commutes, during which I often get dizzy because of motion-sickness. Nothing I write feel as though it comes from the heart anymore—everything feels forced and bland. I don’t know if I’m even making much sense anymore.

To make up for all this negativity, I have decided to compile a list of reactions the different personality types have to the INFP personality type—imagine it as an interview, where each MBTI type gets asked the same question: “What do you think of the INFP personality type?” Each type then answers according to his or her personality; I tried my best to incorporate some of the “voices” of the particular personality types, such as making the sentences spoken by the more logical types more crisp and short, the creative types using more flowery language, etc. Hope you like it!

INFP

“Well, I think we are a good personality type to be around, although we tend to be daydreamers and can be quite messy at times, not to mention not very good at talking to people we have crushes on. We’re also more prone to creativity than actual IQ or intelligence. What do you mean, I need to be less modest?”

INTJ

“They’re alright. They’re quite clever and creative—very good at writing those little stories of theirs, or imagining scenarios—but they’re a little too impractical for me.”

INTP

“I love INFPs. We got along tremendously well. Like, for instance, the other day, I was talking with another INFP and we both spoke at length about how we both loved glow-in-the-dark jellyfish. Isn’t that marvellous? Who doesn’t like glow-in-the-dark jellyfish?”

ENTJ

“They’re good enough. Creative. Very good at writing. Not logical. If they had more logic, then they wouldn’t get into the messes they get into.”

ENTP

“Yeah, what’s not to like about the little daisies. Quite charming and adorable. Such daydreamers, got their heads up in their clouds all day and dancing with the angels. Would I ever fall in love with one, though? Hmm, not a chance.”

INFJ

“INFPs are very nice. Creative and smart. They’re good. Yes. Good.”

ENFJ

“To be honest, I don’t really understand them, they spend all their time by themselves or with books or watching films, and seem to like the company of animals more than they do people! And to not like going to parties, or hanging out with other people, well, that’s a bit weird, don’t you think? At least they’re quite smart and creative.”

ENFP

“I adore INFPs! They’re absolutely wonderful, magnificent people. Full of life, of imagination and ideals—although if they’d just do a bit of work in turning their dreams into a reality, that would certainly make things much easier for them!”

ISTJ

“INFPs and I do not get along. They are far too wishy-washy and impractical for my tastes. And the mess! Do not get me started on the mess.”

ISFJ

“I do really like INFPs. I feel quite protective of them—they seem like such delicate, sweet souls, who need some shelter from the harsh elements of the world.”

ESTJ

“I like INFPs. They are smart and creative. Although they could do with a bit of help on the practicality front.”

ESFJ

“INFPs are the best. Well, it’s hard for me to hate any personality type, so there’s that. I think they’re very smart, creative and deep thinkers. They just know a lot about themselves and the world around them. They’re quite unconventional, too—you won’t find them doing things the same way others do, and I like that a lot about them.”

ISTP

“Don’t understand them one bit. Got their head stuck up in the clouds all day. Bit of a crybaby. ‘Nup, not my cup of tea.”

ISFP

“INFPs are sweet, they really are. They’re such daydreamers, and full of such great ideas, they’re so creative and I love that. It’s really fun to bounce ideas around with them.”

ESTP

“INFPs? Who are they?”

ESFP

“INFPs are fine. A little quiet, though, for my tastes. Actually, it’s hard for me to notice them much, I’m often too busy dancing in the limelight.”

An Update On This INFP’s Life

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I’m listening to the song “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles as I type this; it’s a very sad, trippy sort of song, and I can’t help but fall in love with its whimsical, mournful sound. In fact, it’s so distracting, I almost forgot what I was meant to write about in this post—an update on this INFP’s life. My life, my thoughts. How very interesting. Ah! Welcome to my silly, little world, dear friend, and may you find it a pleasant enough place. Continue reading